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2019-20 Australian A League, Regular Season
  • Scott McDonald (45'+2')

Brisbane beat Central Coast Mariners as A-League continues amid coronavirus

Brisbane veteran Scott McDonald's third goal in two matches secured the Roar a 1-0 A-League win over Central Coast as Australia's top league continued amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The 36-year-old's strike in first-half stoppage time, awarded following a VAR decision to overturn an offside flag, was enough for the Roar in front of a largely deserted Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.

Public concerns about the coronavirus outbreak clearly had an impact, with an official attendance of 4,121 at the 52,500 capacity venue. That tally eclipses the previous lowest A-League attendance at Suncorp Stadium of 5,150 for the Mariners' visit to Brisbane in October 2010.

The win lifts Robbie Fowler's team above Perth Glory into fourth in the table, albeit ahead of Glory's match against Sydney FC on Saturday. It's the highest position so far this season for the Roar, who remain unbeaten at home in 2020. It also extends their unbeaten A-League run against the Mariners to 18 games.

The defeat is the Mariners' ninth in a row and leaves them rooted to the bottom of the ladder and in danger of a third-straight wooden spoon. It was also harsh on Alen Stajcic's team, who twice forced Jaime Young into sharp saves in the first half before McDonald's sucker punch on half time.

Chris Harold and Danny De Silva both tested the Roar goalkeeper in the opening half-hour and Stajcic rued his team's inability to capitalise on those early chances.

"We had momentum of the game in that period and we caught them out. We had to put one of those away and get some scoreboard momentum," he said.

"I'm proud of the effort the boys put in tonight. I thought we were good value for a result tonight so it's a little bit more heartbreaking not to get anything."

Fowler was happy to get away with the three points after being tested by a resilient Mariners.

"Central Coast came here and they made it extremely hard so our lads have been extremely patient," he said.

"A little bit of luck with the goal ... it was well worked in terms of getting the ball out wide and getting it across but there was inches in it.

"It's worked in our favour this time. I think it's a great win for us."

The Mariners will be out to avoid a 10th-straight defeat when they host Melbourne City next Friday while Brisbane are on the road next weekend against Melbourne Victory.